The Charles County Commissioners unanimously approved a general fund budget of just over $300 million for FY 2012 at their commission meeting last week. The budget includes a pay raise of 1% for county employees and a lower than expected property tax differential for the Town of LaPlata. According to the The Independent, the commissioners also lifted a hiring freeze that was imposed in 2008. The county schools fared better than most this year and got a nod of satisfaction from Superintendent Wise.
Perhaps less gratified by revenue decisions will be the town of La Plata, which requested a greater share of property taxes than the commissioners elected to give it. Town officials had asked that 11 cents per $100 of assessed value in property taxes be passed on to the town, but the county, straining to close a budget deficit, opted instead to provide only 8.5 cents.
At a La Plata Town Council meeting before the budget was adopted, Town Treasurer Bob Oliphant said that the difference between 8.5 cents and 11 cents would result in $329,000 in additional taxes for town residents.
The county budget also included a restructuring of road bond debt to delay repayment of $2.5 million in debt, a measure that saves money this year but will end up costing the county $7 million by fiscal 2029, according to an analysis by an accounting firm hired by the county.
Now that the budget has been adopted, the county awaits a verdict from the country’s three main credit rating agencies. The agencies decided to reserve judgment until the budget passed, Kelly said.